Second Thoughts: Newt Goes Over the Edge with “King of Bain”

Bookmark and Share   I endorsed Newt Gingrich.  This came about after Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Sarah Palin, and Paul Ryan, all refused to run for President.   Clearly, Newt was not my first choice but for reasons that I outlined in my endorsement, I preferred him to the other choices that were available.    I still stand by my reasoning but Newt’s newest strategy has me regretting my choice.

I am generally a little forgiving.  I understand that no candidate is perfect and that each candidate is only human.  So I excused Newt’s poor judgment back in 2009 when he endorsed liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava in a special election for Congress in New York State.  I forgave Newt for his mangling of language which seemed like he was opposing Paul Ryan’s budget proposals.  I instead chose to see the promise that existed in Newt’s reform minded, conservative based, solutions and ideas, and his record of anti-establishment thinking and significant accomplishments.  I felt that all that he could deliver was worth the extra effort it would take to try to elect a candidate with as much baggage as him.  A part of me still feels that way.

But since Newt lost Iowa, he has put his baggage in the front seat and his solutions in the trunk.  Meanwhile, the car he is driving has four tires that have been flattened by all the stones that he has been throwing on the rocky road he has taken his campaign down.

Understandably angered by several weeks and $8 million worth of attack ads against him that were sponsored mainly by Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, Newt has decided to take the low road that he once adamantly refused to take.  Now, instead of building himself up and focussing on the issues that could use his help, Newt is focussed more on revenge than revitalizing America.  That I cannot endorse.

Newt’s latest strategy is designed to use capitalism in the same ugly sense that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels used the term Kapitlaist in The Communist Manifesto.  He is trying to blur the lines between free market capitalism and human greed in a way that ignores the whole picture in an attempt to create a false impression.   In the case of Newt Gingrich, to create a false impression of Mitt Romney.

When Newt initially launched this line of attack, I was not offended.  I found his carefully chosen words explaining how he was not denying the natural dynamics of winners and losers in the free market, to be quite palatable.  Newt explained that he has long been a proponent of the type survival of the fittest competition in the free market that increases quality and cost effectiveness of goods and services. Newt made it clear that his problem was that he felt Mitt Romney abused the system and that he sought to take advantage of people through the system, not of the system with the people.

My willingness to listen to Newt’s unique conservative line of attack intrigued me.  So I was willing to listen.  I wondered if we were seeing a true genius at work as he gave birth to a new ideological spin based on compassionate capitalism or caring capitalists, the type of thinking and approach that could undermine President Obama’s attempts to demonize capitalism as a mean spirited, greed driven excuse for taking advantage of the down trodden.   So instead of jumping down Newt’s throat, I gave him 36 hours to prove to me that he was on to something.   I know that if anyone can properly articulate the virtues of capitalism and the opportunity for self help that it provides to those who value liberty, it was Newt.

Then quite sadly I watched the 28 minute film that a pro-Gingrich Super PAC, Winning Out Future, bought and has decided to market.  [see the movie below this post]

The film is all about how Mitt Romney destroyed the lives of thousands of people whose businesses were ultimately closed because of Romney’s venture capitalism company, Bain Capital.  As I watched the film, I could not help but feel as though I was watching an old Soviet style propaganda film aimed at grade school communists.  I expected Eugene Debs to make an appearance and for Upton Sinclair to pop up and deliver a PSA for EPIC.

Then I remembered how just two days ago, Newt ran around and in interview after interview, urged people to be sure to see this anti-Romney film that Gingrich supporters were going to soon make available to the public.  Recollection of that endorsement of the propaganda film before me triggered a true sense of anger in me over Newt and great  disappointment in him too.  These emotions were only intensified as I began to  see the extent to which this anti-Romney film was actually lying about the Romney record.

In one instance, Romney is caught saying, “for an economy to thrive, there are a lot of people who will suffer as a result of that.”   But the hit piece doesn’t include the rest of Romney’s  comment which went on to say; “It’s important for us as a society to find ways to help people be able to move through this process of losing a job in one industry that becomes outmoded, and finding a position in a new type of industry that is growing.”

The irony here is that just yesterday, Newt Gingrich rushed to Mitt Romney’s defense and chastised Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, and the DNC for taking Romney out of context and running with a quote claiming that Romney likes to fire people.  Of course the complete phrase was an inference to his liking the ability to fire insurance companies who aren’t providing proper services, but when taken out of context, you would never know what Romney meant, except for what you are allowed to hear…..”I like to fire people”.   So here is Newt attacking others for taking Mitt out context one day, and then pinning his entire campaign on a film that does nothing but take Mitt Romney totally out of context the next day.  That to me is a sign of hypocrisy, desperation, and instability.  Such qualities are not what I want in a president. Besides, we already have a President who possesses such characteristics.  So who needs another one.

Other lies in the anti-Romney docu-drama are outlined quite well in a piece by Bloomberg News.

This entire Newt endorsed film is nothing more than a pitiful attempt to play on our inherent sensitivities through half truths, and outright lies.  In the end, this film could have easily been produced by Keith Olbermann  for Al Gore’s new cable station Current.  It is nothing but a Debbie Wasserman-Schultz authored, DNC talking point memo and for Newt Gingrich to associate himself with this shameless example of politics at at its worst, is demeaning and an unflaterring sign of a man who is desperate and who has lost sight of the greater mission which he set out to serve when he first began his campaign for President.

On several occasions, I aggressively denounced Ron Paul for what I called his scorched earth campaign strategy that seeks to destroy the candidacies of his Republicans opponents through a slew of highly negative ads, that will only come back to haunt us in November.  Now I am forced to ask myself,  how can I not denounce Newt Gingrich for doing the same that Ron Paul did.  If I still have any sincerity left in me after 23 years of political involvement, I must.

So here I go.

I am denouncing Newt Gingrich for his tactics and asking that he admit he has gone too far.  He needs to admit that he lost sight of the real reasons behind his presidential candidacy and became so consumed by his desire to exact revenge upon Mitt Romney that he betrayed his own initial desire to run a forward looking campaign based on solutions not slander.

As for myself, I am now in the uncomfortable position of having to defend my endorsement of Newt Gingrich.  That is not a position any supporter should be placed in.  I don’t mind defending the candidate I support, but when I have to find good reason to defend my own reasons for giving that support to a candidate, that candidate’s campaign is over.    I just hope that Newt realizes that sooner rather than later.

 

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Iowa’s Mold Breaker Might Matter

We are discovering the 2012 election cycle dynamic every day.  One thing we have learned already is that things that didn’t matter last week are crucial this week.  The thing we are learning this past week is that money matters, as Mitt Romney surrogates bought waves of negative airtime, Ron Paul bought Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman, and Newt suddenly began to realize what a nice thing it would be to have campaign staffs, ground crews, or even counter advertising money.

To Huntsman’s dismay, we may be discovering that Iowa matters.  Let me put it this way.  If Newt Gingrich wins Iowa, it doesn’t really matter.  If Santorum wins Iowa, it will give him some false momentum but Iowa alone won’t matter.  If Bachmann wins Iowa, we will all drop our jaw and then move on with the real race.  If Paul wins Iowa, mainstream Republicans will spend the next few days complaining about how he did his usual ballot stuffing tricks, but then move on.

However, if Mitt Romney wins Iowa, that will be huge.  Iowa has typically stuck to mainstream, evangelical, more conservative than moderate candidates.  Iowa has granted hope to Mike Huckabee in recent years, and Michele Bachmann this year.  Now, with Mitt Romney leading in the polls, it appears that more conservative, evangelical voters are accepting that Romney will win the nomination.  In fact, in this case I wonder what type of dynamic Ron Paul is attributing to Romney’s rise.  Are Iowans viewing Gingrich, Perry and now even Santorum as third party spoilers?

I think with the Iowa dynamic, voters may actually prefer Santorum in the current field.  Instead, it appears that Iowa may end up being about who can beat Barack Obama, or more immediately, who can beat Ron Paul.  At any rate, if Mitt Romney wins, Iowa matters.  As McCain proved in 2008, voting for a candidate primarily because of electability is a tough paradigm to crack once it is set.

One thing is for sure.  If Romney does win in Iowa, Newt is dreaming if he thinks he can turn everything around in New Hampshire.

And the Winner of the Iowa Caucus is……….

Romney and Santorum may surprise all with a first and second place finish, respectively, but South Carolina will be the real winner of the Iowa Caucuses.

Bookmark and Share I am predicting that Mitt Romney will in Iowa and it will go a long way in establishing a sense of inevitability that will help him wrap up the nomination sooner than later.   However; unless Romney racks up a win with 30 or more percent, the results will not matter a great deal and in the end, the real winner will be South Carolina.

Iowa’s caucus history shows that the winners of their nominating contests do not usually go on to become the nominee and President.  More often than not, Iowa caucus voters seem more intent on sending a message to the establishment than sending a nominee to the White House.  This time may be different in the sense that Iowa Republicans may believe that their support for most of the existing candidates will not send any strong message and that Ron Paul, the only candidate for whom a protest vote for would send a clear message, is not in any way a responsible and realistically, viable candidate.   As it is, most Iowa Republicans do not support Ron Paul.  His perceived success in the state so far is due mainly to the Independent and Democrats who are allowed to vote in the caucuses if they change their Party affiliation.

This is something which Paulbots have been planning on taking advantage for a very long time and they are doing a good job at it.

But not good enough.

In the end I believe that between all the back and forth of frontrunner status for one candidate or another, Mitt Romney who has been consistently at the top of the polls in Iowa and who has the strongest organization of all the candidates in the state, will benefit from a social conservative and evangelical vote that is sharply divided between at least four candidates, and from his perceived electability against Barack Obama.  These factors will allow Romney to win the caucus, but unless he wins by an overwhelming amount, it will not do much to help him convince people that he will definitely be the nominee.  That job will be left up to South Carolina, which will actually be the big winner coming out of Iowa.

Everyone knows that Romney will win New Hampshire, so there is little suspense there.  That leaves South Carolina which follows the Live Free or Die State, as the most pivotal of all the early state contests and the greatest beneficiary of the results in Iowa.

It is where Newt Gingrich has been trying to build a firewall and hoping to establish himself as either the frontrunner or the only real viable alternative to Mitt Romney.

South Carolina is also a prelude to the Florida and the momentum provided to the candidate who wins in South Carolina will go a long way in helping that candidate’s chances of winning in the Sunshine State’s primary. 

Even in the unlikely event that Romney blew out all his rivals with a win of  30% or more,  South Carolina will still be an early contest that either solidifies Romney’s lock on the nomination or gives someone else the opportunity to be Romney’s true chief rival as the race moves forward.

These are just simple facts which will not be changed by any result that Iowa produces.  If Senator Rick Santorum happened to pull off a Huckabee-like, 2008, come-from-behind victory, Romney will still dominate in the New Hampshire primary and South Carolina will still host the contest that play a somewhat more decisive role than either New Hampshire or Iowa.

When all is said and done, Iowa will serve one chief purpose.  It will help weed out the field of candidates.  It will help to begin sealing the deal for several of the lower tier candidates, especially Rick Perry.  But even in that capacity, Iowa is not likely to end anyone’s candidacy.  Once again, that mission will be accomplished in South Carolina.

That said, in the tradition of making predictions as one year ends and a new one begins, while I hold true to the belief that Iowa will really only matter if Romney comes in anywhere under third pace, or wins with a large plurality, I also believe that the candidates will finish as follows:

  1. Mitt Romney – 26%
  2. Rick Santorum -21%
  3. Ron Paul – 17%
  4. Newt Gingrich -16%
  5. Rick Perry – 11%
  6. Michele Bachmann – 7%
  7. Jon Huntsman – 2%

I am quite uncertain about those totals, but very confident in the order of each candidate’s placement.

These results will produce several storylines coming out of Iowa.  One will be about whether of not Mitt Romney has a lock on the nomination as he is now on a path to becoming the first non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to sweep both Iowa and New Hampshire?  The other story will be is Rick Santorum, the new Mike Huckabee and can he translate his strong Iowa showing into a victory elsewhere? 

The other stories that will provide the filler for 24 hour cable news programs, will be can Newt comeback “in South Carolina”? What happened to Ron Paul’s surge? And is this the end for Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann?

The answer to all these questions will be determined by the state which I argue will be the ultimate winner in the Iowa Caucuses…..South Carolina.

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